Spotlight on Sophie Carmen Jones - The new Velma in town!
By Sam Wightman
Sophie Carmen Jones is certainly a hot name in musical theatre at the moment. After West End stints in We Will Rock You, Viva Forever! and as Francine in Jersey Boys, she is now starring as Velma Kelly in the national tour of Chicago The Musical. ATG Tickets caught up with Sophie to get the scoop and find out a bit more about this rising star before she embarks on a UK tour to look out for...
Sophie Carmen Jones.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a performer and was there a particular performance which inspired you to do so?
For as long as I remember! Which is around Year 1 in primary school, where I used to teach the girls in my class a routine in the playground as if we were in a music video. I don't know exactly what inspired that in me, but around that age I imagine it was probably the Spice Girls... I may regret admitting that...
You began your training at a young age. What advice would you give people about the importance of training and how to get the most out of it?
I think training is absolutely essential as each discipline within performing (whether it be acting, singing, dancing or anything else) is a skill just like any other that needs to be nurtured and honed. I was told a quote years ago which has always stuck with me: 'The more you practice the luckier you'll get'. So train hard and get lucky!
What's the least glamorous side of your job?
RATS! These beautiful theatres we work in are unfortunately also home to rats, and sometimes they like to make an appearance as if to remind us who was there first!
What would your dream role be and why?
Well, you won't believe it but the only role within musical theatre I have ever really dreamed to play is Velma Kelly! Ever since I saw the film and was in awe of Katherine Zeta-Jones, I was hooked. I even had a life size poster of her as Velma in my bedroom. True story. Every other little girl had boyband posters mixed in with the Spice Girls, but I had a life-sized Katherine Zeta Velma Kelly.
(left) Sophie Carmen Jones; (right) Sophie starring as Francine in 'Jersey Boys'.
If you could work with anyone in the industry, who would it be and why?
I recently watched As You Like It directed by Polly Findlay, and was so impressed with the whole production. It would be a dream to work not only at such an esteemed theatre, but also with such a creative and innovative director.
What's it like to be involved in the workshop process for a new musical such as you are at the moment with Guy Fawkes?
It feels so special as you get to be involved in the creative aspect and feel like you have real input. Working on Guy Fawkes was especially brilliant as the music is so epic and intricate it was like nothing I had ever sung before. I think everyone in the room got goosebumps when it all came together!
If you weren't a performer, what other job would you like to do?
My mum tells me I once wrote in school that I wanted to be a dancing doctor, so maybe I'd have a go at fulfilling the other half of that statement!
Sophie will be starring in 'Chicago' alongside John Partridge (Billy Flynn), Hayley Tamaddon (Roxie Hart) and Sam Bailey (Mama Morton).
Do you suffer from nerves, and if so, how do you overcome them?
I'm actually quite lucky in that I am not a very nervous person, but when the stomach butterflies and shaky hands strike, I just tell myself to relax, breath and remember I'm pretending to be someone else the minute I step out there, so leave my own insecurities out of it!
What has been your career highlight so far?
I've been super lucky so far and had some really crazy 'pinch me' moments, but it would have to be working on the new Beauty and the Beast Disney feature film coming out next year. It was such a huge production - it really was magical!
What advice would you give people looking to follow in your footsteps?
The advice I would give would be 'don't follow'! Everyone is an individual so
explore your own uniqueness and be proud of it. Of course always work passionately and be bold and brave in your decisions and choices, but most importantly have fun!
If you don't find enjoyment in what you do, what is the point?! Love what you do!